The week before last, I mentioned in my Five Things Friday post that I was doing the Inspired Yoga + Run with the ZOOMA ladies. I won a free entry to the contest on a blog, then was offered a free entry since I’m an ambassador for their race next January in Amelia Island. I was really looking forward to meeting the ladies behind the race, so even though we all know I’m NOT a morning person, I got up before the crack of dawn and made the 45-minute trek out to Jax Beach for this inspiring event.
This was the gorgeous sunrise that greeted me as I turned off of 3rd Street headed toward the beach. It’s hard not to be in a good mood with a sunrise like that welcoming you.
There was plenty of parking and even though I was almost late (as usual!), I found a spot and was checked in and rolling out my yoga mat within just a few minutes. I met up with one of my local Moms Run This Town friends (Hi, Jessica! So great to meet you!!) and we chatted for a bit before the yoga session started.
The yoga part of the morning was a 50-minute all-levels yoga flow session, led by Paula Puopolo, the Founder and Co-Owner of Ocean Yoga Center. I loved her sense of humor and how she kept the atmosphere light and relaxing — sometimes I have a hard time not giggling in yoga sessions. Perhaps I’m not very connected with my inner yogi or nature or whatever I’m supposed to be connected with.
Paula was really great at breaking down the moves and she had a friend on stage demonstrating the moves just in case you weren’t sure what exactly you were supposed to be doing. It was very laid back, go at your own pace. Several times, Paula reminded us to do what felt good to us and to take a break if we needed to. I love that. I really enjoyed the session and also learned a few new poses to help stretch out my sore hips. If it weren’t such a long drive for me, I’d seriously do this every weekend.
We finished up with the yoga session and had enough time to pack up our mats, make a potty stop, and either stash our stuff in our cars or at the gear check (which I did, it was very quick and organized). We walked down to the beach and gathered at the starting line for an easy three miles on the beach.
We were encouraged to run, walk, or even dance down the beach — the entire morning was all about doing what felt right to you. I loved the no pressure, relaxed vibe.
It was an absolutely gorgeous morning. As the sun continued to rise over the ocean, it did warm up a bit, but it wasn’t uncomfortable at all. The breeze felt great and I loved breathing in the fresh, salty air.
You may remember a few weeks ago, I was stressing about running on the beach for Tour de Pain and it all turned out okay. I didn’t worry about it prior to this morning, but it was totally different. Since the tide was just coming in, most of the sand was soft and powdery.. great for beach-goers but tough to run in.
Of course the fabulous ZOOMA ladies thought of everything and had inspirational signs along the beach to keep us going. I ran the first mile or so, then alternated walking and running. I didn’t stress over time or anything, it was a nice change of pace from marathon training.
We ran a mile and a half down the beach, where there was a water stop, then made our way back to the start. There was a crowd waiting for us at the finish, cheering us on and encouraging us to head back toward the pavilion, where there were lots of delicious snacks. They had KIND bars, GOOD bean bars and beans (OMG delicious – go buy them NOW!), Chobani greek yogurt, HINT water, regular water.. so delicious!
I grabbed a few snacks and some watermelon HINT (I still prefer my watermelon Nuun, but it was pretty good) and ran into Jenn & Erik — we chatted for a few minutes (So nice to meet you both!! Sorry I’m such a spaz and was half out of it!) and I waited for a few minutes to see if I could find Jessica to say goodbye. We were headed to Orlando as soon as I got home to visit with my in-laws and meet our new baby cousin, so after a quick chat with Allison, who I can’t wait to work with on the ZOOMA Florida race, I took off and headed home.
This really was such an Inspiring event, if it’s coming close to you, I definitely recommend giving it a shot! If you want to read the ZOOMA recap and see more pictures, you can do that here.
Don’t forget, you can use code FLAAMB5 to join me at ZOOMA Florida and save 10% off the race fee!
Disclaimer — My entry into this event was free, but the opinions are 100% mine. I truly loved the event and would have absolutely paid the entry fee – worth every penny!